Weeknight Shrimp Pad Thai

Yeild: 4 Servings

This recipe is not a traditional Pad Thai, but is very simple and can be made with things that are usually on hand. Traditional Pad Thai uses rice noodles and tamarind paste, two items I rarely have on hand. I used Linguine in place of the rice noodles and lime juice for the tartness usually provided by the tamarind. This is meant to be a weeknight dinner made from pantry staples typically on hand.

I keep frozen raw shrimp in the freezer at all times. It quickly defrosts at room temperature, and can be quickly stir-fried or grilled for fast dinners. This recipe takes advantage of the convenience of frozen shrimp.

This meal is fresh, full of colorful foods, packed with vitamin C and is and easy one-dish week night meal. Leftovers reheat easily.

Ingredients

8 oz. Rice Noodles or Flat Pasta
3 Tbsp. Lime Juice
3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Tamari or Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp. Avocado Oil
1 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Red Bell Pepper, Thinly Sliced
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 lb. Raw Shrimp, peeled and deveined (if using frozen, thaw completely and pat dry)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 Scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated.
1 Tbsp. Minced Cilantro
1/2 Cup. Roasted Peanuts, chopped 

Instructions

  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce, and tamari. Set aside.
  3. In a large non-stick saute pan or wok, heat avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and cook until tender. Stir in garlic and white part of scallions and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add sesame oil to the pan. Then add the shrimp and cook, continuously stirring, until shrimp is pink.
  5. Push the shrimp and vegetables to one side of the pan, and pour in the beaten eggs. Scramble the eggs until they just set, and then mix in with the shrimp and vegetables.
  6. Add the cooked noodles and toss until everything is combined.
  7. Pour in the lime juice mixtures and toss until the noodles are coated with the sauce.
  8. Garnish with the green part of the scallions, roasted peanuts and cilantro before serving.

Notes:

  • Rice noodles are traditional. Suitable substitutions are linguine, fettucini or another flat pasta noodle.
  • Substitute almonds or cashews if you don’t have peanuts on hand or if there is a peanut allergy to consider.
  • Pork or chicken can be substituted for the shrimp, or used in addition to the shrimp. Slice thin and insure raw pork or chicken is fully cooked before adding shrimp and eggs.

Shrimp Bisque

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Shrimp is less expensive and more attainable these days than its popular bisque cousins – crab and lobster. This is a rich and creamy soup with a more subtle flavor. It can be a meal in itself, or can be rounded out with a salad and a nice crusty bread.

Ingredients

For Bisque
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
5 Cups Seafood Stock, see recipe below 
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
3 Cups Chopped Leaks, white and light green parts (about 3 leeks)
1.5 Tablespoons Garlic, Minced
1/3 Cup Brandy
1/3 Cup Dry Sherry
6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
3 Cups Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons Madeira 
1 Teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning 
Salt and Pepper to Taste

For Seafood Stock
Reserved Shrimp Shells 
2 Bay Leaves
1 Lemon, cut in 1/2
1 Large Carrot, peeled and cut in to large pieces
2 Ribs Celery, cut into large pieces
1 Medium Onion
1 Teaspoon Vegetable Bouillon powder
2 8 oz. Bottles of Clam Juice
6 Cups Water

Instructions

  1. Peel and devine Shrimp, reserving shells.
  2. Combine all ingredients for seafood stock in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for approximately 1 hour. Strain solids and reserve resulting stock. Add enough water to make 5 cups if necessary.
  3. Meanwhile, dice shrimp into small pieces, keeping a few whole for garnish.
  4. Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add shrimp and saute until pink and mostly cooked through.
  5. Add leeks to dutch oven. Saute leeks until soft and translucent but not browned. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the brandy and cook for 1 minute, then the sherry and cook for 3 minutes more. Transfer shrimp (except whole shrimp – reserve for garnish in a separate bowl) leeks, garlic and all pan juices to food processor. Use a spatula to get all the pan juices into the food processor bowl.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of the seafood stock to the food processor. Pulse until shrimp, leeks and garlic are coarsley pureed. Let rest in food processor bowl and proceed to next step.
  7. Melt butter in dutch oven. Add flour and cook over medium-low heat for about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk to form a golden roux.
  8. Add the cream and cook, stirring with a whisk, until thickened. Stir in the Madeira and cook for another minute. Stir in the pureed shrimp, the remaining stock, tomato paste, Old Bay Seasoning, and Worchestershire sauce.
  9. Heat gently until hot but not boiling.
  10. Add Salt and Pepper to taste.
  11. Serve hot, garnishing with reserved whole shrimp.

Marsala Shrimp and Parmesan Polenta

Serves 6

This recipe is a mashup of traditional shrimp ‘n grits – mostly Creole with a nod to my Italian heritage. Polenta is more coarsley ground yellow corn vs. the finer ground white corn used for grits. Russ calls it a “heart attack waiting to happen,” because it is so rich.

I like to acheive creamy parmesan polenta using a slow cooker method. It saves all that stirring and it comes out perfect everytime. I typically get the polenta going about two hours before I start prep for cooking the shrimp.

After I have done the “mise en place” (everything in place – measured and prepped), the shrimp comes together very quickly. With the polenta ready by cooking in advance, the plating only takes a minute.

Ingredients

For the Polenta
1 Cup Polenta (I use Bob's Red Mill Organic)
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
3 Cups Chicken Stock, plus more if necessary
2 Cups Whipping Cream
1/4 Cup Parmesan, finely grated

For the Shrimp
1/4 Cup Butter
1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
1 1/2 Pounds Raw Shrimp, peeled and pevined
2 Tablespoon Dry Sherry
3 Tablespoons Marsala Wine
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
3/4 Cup Chicken or Vegetable Stock
2 teaspoons Worchestershire Sauce
1/4 Cup Whipping Cream
Creole Seasoning to taste (go easy - too much will make dish too salty)
2 Tablespoons Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, minced fine, divided

Option for serving
Parmesan cheese, grated
Red pepper flakes for additional heat

Instructions

  1. Two hours before beginning to cook shrimp, place polenta, salt, stock and cream in a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Stir the polenta at the two hour point. If it is too thick add a little more stock. Cook for another 30 – 60 minutes until thick and creamy. Add in Parmesan cheese and stir until incorporated.
  2. While polenta is cooking for the last 30-60 minutes, gather and prep all the ingredients for the Shrimp.
  3. In a saute pan or wok large enough to hold all the shrimp, melt butter.
  4. Add raw shrimp and garlic and cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Remove the shrimp from pan with a slotted spoon to a platter or bowl.
  5. Add sherry and marsala to the pan with the butter and shrimp juices. Cook over medium heat to cook off alcohol.
  6. Add wine and cook for 2-3 additional minutes to cook off alcohol.
  7. Add the stock and the Worchestershire. Add Creole seasoning to taste.
  8. Add in cream slowly stirring constantly.`
  9. Add in 1/2 the parsley, and cook a couple of minutes.
  10. Return shrimp to sauce in pan and reheat for serving.
  11. Serve in shrimp and pan sauce over polenta. Garnish each serving with a bit of fresh parsley. Top with finely grated Parmesan if desired.